Jackson to hire private firm to seek out next public works director

Jackson, Mississippi's seal
Jackson, Mississippi's seal(WLBT)
Published: Jan. 31, 2023 at 10:33 AM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - A private recruitment firm will be enlisted to help find Jackson’s next public works director, according to Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba.

Lumumba addressed the lack of a public works director at his Monday media briefing.

The mayor says the next director will have a much different role than previous department leaders, with the water department now under federal receivership.

“We need a public works director who deals with capital projects, if you will, facilities, and maintaining those facilities,” he said. “While these are big tasks, and need to be responded to, it is a significant department from the previous duties of a public works director in the city of Jackson.”

“And we have to make certain that the salary and the individual align with those priorities.”

He said an interim director should be appointed in the coming days, and that other city officials have taken on the director’s duties since the previous director, Jordan Hillman, stepped down.

“We have not missed a beat in terms of how, how the chain of approval takes place,” he said. “Our CAO has stepped into the role of approving projects and things that need to take place from a public works standpoint. And there has been significant work from our city engineer.”

The department has had at least four directors in three years. Bob Miller resigned in 2020. He was replaced by Dr. Charles Williams, who was removed from the position in 2021 in favor of the city’s former CAO Marlin King. King stepped down this summer after being reassigned amid Jackson’s water crisis.

Hillman, a deputy director over water, is now “on loan” to JXN Water, the private company formed by Jackson’s third-party manager to oversee the water system.

Want more WLBT news in your inbox? Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.